Karen-Elizabeth Moroski, Ph.D.

Picture of Dr. Karen Moroski
Co-Curricular Programs Coordinator, Writing and Language Communities

In the position of Co-Curricular Programs Coordinator for Writing and Languages, Karen-Elizabeth Moroski coordinates both the Writing and Language Tutoring programs for Penn State Learning -- including the Undergraduate Writing Center -- and teaches courses in both Curriculum & Instruction and Women, Sexuality & Gender Studies.

In her professional life both on campus and off, Karen has developed scholarship and nonprofit administration experience that focuses on intersectional, multi-disciplinary methodologies. Here in State College, Karen chairs the Borough of State College's LGBTQA Advisory Committee, and is an affiliate member of Penn State's Campus Commission for LGBTQ Equity. In New York, Karen served as the Program Coordinator of the LGBTQ+ non-profit The Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project from 2011-2016, where she worked to eliminate health disparities and increase community capacity and development for families with one or more queer-identified parents. This work meshes well with, and informs, her academic studies. Karen's scholarly pursuits focus on the intersections of affective neuroscience, critical theory, trauma studies and "writing the self." She specializes in tracing the social, ecological and physiological consequences of trauma in marginalized communities – particularly the LGBTQ+ community, noted for its non-biological ties and its continued reconfiguration. In short form, this means Karen explores the ways in which trauma and living in a difficult world make us not just mentally/emotionally “different,” but actually physiologically so – and how those differences change how we tell our stories. 

Karen returned to Penn State after spending six years at Binghamton University, where she defended her doctoral project in critical theory and trauma studies in April 2017. Her dissertation won the prestigious Distinguished Dissertation in English Award that same year.

A 2016 winner of the Alfred J. Bendixen Prize for Distinguished Teaching by a Graduate Student in English and the 2016 winner of the New York State Graduate Student Excellent in Teaching Award, Karen loves to be in the classroom and has taught a wide array of courses, ranging from feminist theory to post-structuralism to critical race theory to writing studies. She loves it all, and is glad to continue her teaching work at Penn State. In August 2017, Karen was elected Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Writing Center Association, and she looks forward to working closely with Writing Centers across the region to enhance and empower both tutors and the students they serve. When asked how she feels about the broad variety of tasks within her work, she smiles: "I have fun! All day, every day."

As an undergraduate at Penn State from 2007-2011, Karen held the PSL positions of Writing Tutor, Writing Tutor Coordinator, and Dangling Modifier Editor; she has, then, been a part of every level of the Writing Program she now coordinates. Karen had also been an intern at the Penn State LGBTQA Student Resource Center, an editor of The OUTRider, and a Straight Talks Pro panelist. She’s glad to be back helping to work alongside and shape the programs that meant so much to her during her undergraduate years here. She thinks administrators who stay active in the lives and communities of their students are able to save lives, shape trajectories, build foundations and launch incredible adventures. It matters.  

Karen holds a BA in English and dual minors in History and Sexuality & Gender Studies from Penn State (2011). She earned her MA in English (specializing in Critical Theory, Affective Neuroscience and Trauma Studies) from Binghamton University (2013), and completed her Ph.D. in English (specializing in Critical Theory, Affective Neuroscience, and Trauma Studies) in 2017. 

Office: 206 Boucke

Email: kxm5044@psu.edu

Phone: (814) 865-0259